November 16, 2020
It seems like a lifetime ago that we were celebrating with hope and optimism the dawn of a new year. 2020 held such promise. Then, the pandemic took hold and shook our personal and collective foundations, leaving us uncertain of our safety, our security, and our future. Perhaps worst of all, it shook our faith. As a faithful people we have always relied on our God in times of crisis. But do we? When the crisis comes, we often become the “ye” of little faith.
What has always been here for us in these times of uncertainty, instability, and fear? Our home! For us, it is that comforting, welcoming, and sacred place we call St. Catherine’s. Its people, and clergy, its mission and ministries, have always been there to instruct, comfort, support, and remind us of the promises that never fail us: Gods’ promises. The God who said, “I will never leave you!”
What a blessing to have St. Catherine's in our lives during a year like 2020. I have relied on St. Catherine's to be there for me and my family since we joined the church in 1998, and it always has. Notwithstanding, how often have I taken St. Catherine's for granted? This year has given me pause to reflect on that question, and sadly, the answer is--quite often. Joni Mitchell sings, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone!"
What if St. Catherine's was gone? What if St. Catherine’s never existed? That sweet church on the hill is not there. You ride by, and it is a wooded lot, or maybe a subdivision. No one worshiped together there; children did not learn about the love of Jesus there in our Catechesis classes; no one was married there; there were no celebrations of life there; and not a single soul was baptized or comforted there.
The point is, we have a treasure in St. Catherine's, but it takes financial support to sustain it and ensure that it not only survives, but thrives. This reality is more critical this year than ever before, so that we are able to emerge from the pandemic financially and spiritually strong and looking toward the future with hope.
Your financial support funds all of the formation offerings, ministries, and celebrations I (and maybe you?) have taken for granted. Here are some examples of the holy work that continued during the pandemic because of St. Catherine’s:
With the help of 35 parishioners, The Outreach Committee served Family Promise guests in the Youth House during June with overnight stays in the Parish Hall including pre-cooked meals on the porch. St. Catherine’s also joined with other area parishes to help provide extended hotel stays to Family Promise families.
Two social-distanced food drives were conducted for MUST Ministries at St. Catherine’s during the pandemic, one of which commemorated the first anniversary of Mother Rebecca’s ordination.
Women's Extension meals were provided on schedule and the parish gathered and delivered donations to Holy Comforter and to Simple Needs Georgia; and,
Despite our physical separation, our clergy, staff, and volunteers have continued to provide comfort and spiritual perspective with Sunday worship, coffee hour, Clergy Chat, and compline.
For over 50 years, St. Catherine's has served God's people in so many ways. Thanks to your faithful support, St. Catherine’s will continue to serve not only for today, but for all our tomorrows.
With Love and Gratitude,
Stewardship 365 Committee
Stewardship365 and St. Catherine's
invite you to pledge for the 2021 budget year
Your pledge helps us determine our staffing, budget and programming. You can request a pledge card from Rachel Hutton, firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit your pledge online at www.stcats.church/pledge2021. Thank you for your generosity!
So where does our money go in general?
How about during COVID?
We give to a variety of community organizations. Here are two great examples:
Family Promise (Contributed by Volunteers Linda Scott and Barb Selby)
Family Promise assists homeless families with children achieve adequate and consistent income, stable housing and lasting independence. St. Catherine’s has helped 121 families since the program began and 75% have remained in permanent housing a year later. This is an excellent record for a housing program and we thank you so much for your support over the last 7 years!
During Covid, St. Catherine's has continued to embrace families in need -- while still maintaining CDC safety guidelines.
In June, St. Catherine's volunteers served two families in the Youth House with overnight hosts staying in the Parish Hall, and volunteers leaving delicious dinners on the Youth House porch each night for the families. Thirty-five wonderful folks helped with that effort.
In September, St. Cats hosted one family, but followed suit with other churches in the county and opted to pay for a week’s rent of a room at an Extended Stay hotel. Our volunteers came through for us again, with 15-20 folks providing gift cards and monetary contributions to help pay for the week.
We are scheduled to host again the week after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29- Dec. 6. Depending upon the number and size of the families, we will again need either funds or volunteers. Please consider contributing.
Margaret Shaw is our new Volunteer Coordinator for Family Promise and would welcome your interest if you are new to Family Promise. Or, if you are available to be an Overnight Host, deliver a dinner meal, or provide donations for either a hotel stay or gift card for a meal, please let Margaret know. You can reach her at mhbShaw@bellsouth.net.
Habitat for Humanity (Contributed by Connie Bergeron)
Even during COVID, our volunteers came out to help! Our Habitat house was actually built during COVID, and the Dedication was held in mid-October. St. Catherine's supported it as a member of the ecumenical Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition. Thanks to the churches in the CIHC, our Homeowner will have a new, safe home for this year's Holidays, despite construction delays due to COVID.